Just so that you don't think there are no views of Mt. Baker on this trail ...
1. From Swift Creek, the low point of the hike
2. From the ridge above Lake Ann
3. Summit cone
4. On the return in late afternoon - clouds over summit had settled in for good
... or wildlife
Blue Grouse, we heard its clucking before we spotted it. Pikas were whistling all around us, but they're extremely shy and hard to photograph because they never sit still - not at all like the grouse or the raven who both posed for us!
The imposing views are those of Mt. Shuksan with its four glaciers, White Salmon, Upper and Lower Curtis and Sulphide. We hiked fairly close to the Lower Curtis Glacier, but turned around when the switchbacks seemed to take us away from it. According to the map in "100 Hikes in Washington's North Cascades", we were following the climbers' track to the Fisher Chimneys which take climbers to the foot of the Upper Curtis Glacier.
What looked like the Fisher Chimneys to me is at the extreme left of the upper glacier.
A view details about this hike: The TH is half-way between Austin Pass and Artist Point on Hwy 542. Round trip 8.5 miles, hiking time 6-8 hrs. The trail starts out by descending 250 m down to Swift Creek. It then climbs 300 m over a granite boulder field to a ridge above the lake. The grade, both down and up is gentle. We added about 3 miles by first wandering over towards the glacier after our lunch at the end of lake, and then by climbing up a heathery spur to Shuksan Arm where there are a couple of spectacular campsites with views of Mt. Shuksan and Baker, and Lake Ann. These sites are much more secluded than the ones around the lake where you will be faced with people wandering through or next to your camp (it is a popular trail, particularly on weekends), but you do have the advantage of a water source. My choice would be lugging the pack up a steep, but mercifully short trail to the ridge and escape the traffic. Btw, camping at Lake Ann does not require a permit (according to the sign posted at the TH).
The obligatory flora shot ...
and a last look near the end of the hike to the ridge above Lake Ann with Swift Creek Basin down below ...
We hit the trail at 9:30 and were back at the car by 5:15. We spent an inordinate amount of time feasting on blueberries which are at their very best right now!